The Journal Gazette
Sunday, August 01, 2021 1:00 am

Study: Outdoor activities boost state GDP

Journal Gazette

The outdoor recreation industry contributes 2.8% of total GDP in Indiana each year, according to a study from Outdoorsy that looks at the impact of outdoor recreation on state economies. The industry also accounts for 2.6% of total employment and 2.5% of total compensation in Indiana. 

The study ranks Indiana 16th among states in reliance on outdoor activity for the economy. The outdoor activity that had the largest economic impact for the state was RVing.

The Outdoor Industry Association found that, across the country, participation in outdoor recreation reached record levels during the year of the coronavirus pandemic, with 7.1 million additional people participating in some activity, bringing the overall total above 52% of the population for the first time. 

The association says that the industry was already growing significantly heading into the pandemic year. In 2012, the industry contributed about $350 billion to the U.S. economy. By 2019, that contribution jumped to more than $450 billion and is likely to grow further when the numbers for 2020 are finalized.

Fishing was one of the activities that grew fastest in 2020, as the number of first-timers to the sport grew 42% from 2019. Boating participation also increased significantly, with boat sales going up 13%. Between them, boating and fishing had $25 billion of economic impact in 2019.

Increased participation in outdoor activities was a boon to states that have a higher portion of their economy dependent on those activities. Hawaii leads the nation in that category, with Montana and Wyoming just behind.

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